In the Alpine principality that bears his name lives Prince Hans-Adam II von und zu Liechtenstein lives in a castle perched on a cliffside. He owns a collection of Renaissance masterpieces, as well as two palaces in Vienna he owns a collection of Renaissance masterpieces, as well as two palaces in Vienna and he’s known as “Your Serene Highness” to the country’s 38,000 citizens.
According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, he’s also now one of the world’s 500 richest people.
Rooted in LGT Group, a private bank that caters to the ultra-rich worldwide, is the dynastic fortune that originated during the Crusades and is rooted in LGT Group which is controlled by the prince.
Thanks in part to a 10 percent increase in net assets, jumping more than quadruple the gain of the Euro Stoxx Banks Index, is LGT’s value which has jumped 64 percent this year. And lifting him to No. 444 on the Bloomberg index with $4.4 billion was the surge which added $1.7 billion to von Liechtenstein’s net worth.
Originating with land holdings acquired in the 12th century that at one point were spread across what’s now Germany, Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic, the fortune is the oldest on the index.
A fraction of the land wealth owned by other noble families who, while not royal, held on to property acquired centuries ago valued by the index at less than $100 million, is that wealth that has since been whittled down to mainly timberland and farmland in Austria.
A $12.9 billion fortune derived from hundreds of acres of London land his family has owned since 1677, is controlled by Hugh Grosvenor, the seventh Duke of Westminster. A huge plot of central London acreage that has been in his family since 1753 is overseen by Earl Cadogan, who’s worth $7.5 billion.
Because of the fact that most of the monarchy’s assets are held in trust for the British people, with a personal fortune of about $380 million — less than 1/10th the size of Hans-Adam’s, is Queen Elizabeth II who is the only other royal valued by the Bloomberg index.
Up from 129.3 billion francs a year earlier and ending 2016 with 152.1 billion Swiss francs ($153.8 billion) under management, LGT claims to be the biggest bank owned by an “entrepreneurial family”. Investors favor private banks and see them as less susceptible to the legal and regulatory constraints because they are typically more nimble than their investment-banking brethren.
Once notorious for being a tax haven, a comeback of sorts for the mountainous nation sandwiched between Austria and Switzerland, is mirrored by the bank’s success. Liechtenstein sought to re-brand itself as a specialist private-banking hub since it abolished its banking secrecy laws in 2009.
According to Simon Tribelhorn, director of the Liechtenstein Bankers Association, almost triple from five years earlier, the country’s banks attracted a record 20.3 billion Swiss francs of net inflows last year.
Becoming the leader of one of the world’s oldest noble families, the prince assumed the throne after his father’s death in 1989. The family empire, which was in shambles thanks to expropriations during World War II and mismanagement, was tasked by his father to recognize it, after graduating from the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland. As well as multimillionaires and billionaires, he narrowed its client focus to just institutions and shut down unprofitable divisions.
(Adapted from Bloomberg)